Why the hate for typing ?

Discussion in 'Linux' started by Grim Squeaker, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Grim Squeaker

    Grim Squeaker

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    From another topic:
    So... why the hate and/or disdain ? Why must everything be menu-click driven or immediately met with disapproval ?
    A powerful commandline can perform many, many tasks far faster and more precise than a system where you have to tick 17 boxes after all . Especially with pipelines added...

    And it even goes beyond the commandline: people with a physics or mathematics background for instance tend to prefer a system like LaTex, where one manually types the complex formula's, over words math editor where you click them. And yet some people here would consider such a system primitive and a reason to stay away...

    So.. why the hate ;) ?
     
    Grim Squeaker, Sep 23, 2008
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  2. Grim Squeaker

    SbM

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    Because it's 2008, the age of mouse-driven graphical interfaces, not 1978 when you had to type cryptic commands on a green-on-black 12" monitor ;)
     
    SbM, Sep 23, 2008
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  3. Grim Squeaker

    xraycat

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    A command line interface is an open playground. There aren't any limits to what you can do until after you perform the command. This is difficult for people to learn with; they need to understand and remember everything before they can accomplish their task. For this reason a GUI is designed. It outlines what it is you can and can't do (check boxes, drop-downs). All of these features simplify what is and isn't possible without needing feedback. If the choice isn't available then there is no chance in attempting it. For new users a GUI makes learning the applications easier and quicker.
     
    xraycat, Sep 23, 2008
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  4. Grim Squeaker

    JimK

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    Two reasons.

    1. Command prompts require memorization. Not just the command and the file name and location but also any options or attributes or whatever you call them.
    2. Some of us are prone to typos. Typos don't work on the command line.
     
    JimK, Sep 23, 2008
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  5. Grim Squeaker

    Demibeard

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    I guess not many users had to use MS-DOS or the Amiga CLI. :(

    I think the modern distros of Linux suit both clickers and typers equally.

    I mean you can install an app simply by downloading the rpm and double clicking or you can (if your repos are ok) just type sudo yum install app in the terminal, now which is easier again?

    I've been looking for a platform to get back into 'proper' computing and Linux and my AAO have given me that opportunity.

    I like the keyboard. You learn about the system that way.

    I guess many people just want it to work and don't want to have to think about it, that's not me, I do want to understand, that way I don't have to take it to 'The Tech Guys' when I break the OS (Three times so far :lol: )

    I guess it's all about what you as a consumer want, after all, I bet a fair number of users are just happy writing the odd e-mail and doing a bit of surfing, others on the other hand want a system they can get their teeth into. :D

    A colleague at work has also bought the Linpus based AAO, and it's his first foray into Linux, he's a very keen digital photographer and uses his netbook to transfer his pictures, with the addition of UFraw. As a new user he has been absolutely stunned and pleased with open source software, he can't believe the wealth of software and simplicity of installing a program. He said, and I quote "You just open that program (Package Manager) and search for whatever you want?!"

    So far I can't find a reason to NOT use Linux, but that might just be me.
     
    Demibeard, Sep 23, 2008
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  6. Grim Squeaker

    jcm

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    I have used Windows-based, mouse controlled computers since Windows 95, but I must admit I've learnt quite a lot about Linpus Linux in a short space of time. I've surprised myself because I'm actually enjoying learning the ins and outs of Linpus Linux -- mostly through certain issues I've been having with my AAO, but not always. In any case, typing commands into a shell takes me back to the 1980s again and the Atari 400. :? :p

    Initially I was planning to upgrade to Windows XP, but after messing around with Linpus Lite at the shell and seeing the wealth of programs on offer, I think I'm going to stick with Linux.
     
    jcm, Sep 23, 2008
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  7. Grim Squeaker

    rbil

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    Hint: look into tab completion. Save's mucho typing at times.

    Cheers.
     
    rbil, Sep 23, 2008
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  8. Grim Squeaker

    Grim Squeaker

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    That statement implies menu's are superior to typing.
    Are they ?

    But so do click- and menustructures. Finding the specific option in a big program can require you to click an awful lot of times. Even if you do know the place where the elusive option hides, it can take well over 5 clicks to get there.
    Microsoft Outlook is an excellent example of this.

    True that.
     
    Grim Squeaker, Sep 23, 2008
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  9. Grim Squeaker

    donec

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    And what does that mean? Sounds very cryptic to me. Of course you know what it means since you are used to it but others have no idea what you mean. This is typical of the kind of help knowledgeable command line users give and is what scares GUI users away.
     
    donec, Sep 23, 2008
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  10. Grim Squeaker

    kevin

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    The profoundly marvellous thing about command line operation is that it's easy to automate stuff. If you're likely to be doing the same sequence of operations a dozen times a day, it may be worth the effort of learning a command-line way of doing them, so you can script them and thereafter just run the script. You can automate GUI operations, up to a point, but my experience is that it's hardly worth the pain.

    And in many cases it's worth learning at least some command-line utilities really thoroughly, because then it's actually a lot quicker to use them than the pointy-clicky way.

    A good example for me is `rsync', which I use all the time. It has about a gazillion options, but it's worth the effort to learn them. Now if I want to back up on my network server all files that have changed since last tuesday, or synchronize the contents of two directories except files smaller than a kilobyte, or whatever, I can do it in an instance without even thinking about it. And I do this kind of thing all the time.

    Other good examples along the same lines are `find' (e.g., find all files modified this week) and `grep' (e.g., find all files whose names end in .txt that contain the word `fred'). I install cygwin on my Windows machines just so I can run these few commands, if for nothing else. I don't even like to think about how long it would take to do the stuff I do with rsync using a GUI.

    On the other hand, things that I do once in a blue moon I prefer to have GUIs for. It's just not worth my while figuring out how to do certain things on the command line, because I do them so infrequently. And some things naturally lend themselves to point-and-click operations. I wouldn't even consider using a command-line app for editing photos, for example. Having said that, I do things like batch raw->jpeg conversion using the command line because it would take hours to point-and-click each one in Photoshop or whatever. I _might_ be able to do the same thing in Photoshop (or some other graphical app) but it's just quicker for me to use the command line than to spend a couple of hours poring through the impenetrable manual.

    Now, I write software for a living, so I sit in front of my computer for eight hours a day. So it's actually worth my while to make the investment in figuring out command-line ways of doing things. My wife, on the other hand, uses a computer for five minutes a day to check her e-mail. There just isn't any command-line utility which it would be worth her while learning to use.

    I think it is a huge mistake to say that command-line operations are old-fashioned and `unecessary in this day and age', as some people do. I use the command-line where it's appropriate (for me) to do so, because it's quicker and easier than the alternatives.
     
    kevin, Sep 23, 2008
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  11. Grim Squeaker

    kevin

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    A term isn't `cryptic' merely because you happen not to know what it means. Put `tab completion' into Google and you'll find a gazillion explanations.

    Kabbalah is cryptic, as perhaps is Freemasonry. The command line is not cryptic, it is just something you happen not to know much about yet.
     
    kevin, Sep 23, 2008
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  12. Grim Squeaker

    donec

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    What they are is more informative than the syntax of the command line. Like a picture is equal to a thousand words.

    It may require several clicks to find hidden functions but at least you can just look for the function you want opposed to with a command line you must know the function, the language, location of the function command and the syntax of the command line every time you want to preform that function so GUI is easier and allows you to concentrate on the results of the function instead of how to type the command without errors.

    True that.[/quote:3t2ms6vh]And an important fact.
     
    donec, Sep 23, 2008
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  13. Grim Squeaker

    feed_sparky

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    --help is your friend!
     
    feed_sparky, Sep 23, 2008
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  14. Grim Squeaker

    SbM

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    Graphical interfaces are not limited to menus. And it's a fact that Mac OS X requires you to use the commande-line interface far less often than Linux.

    Sure, but at least you have a chance to find it. What if I open a terminal and don't know what command to type to get a listing of all the files? Can I browse through the menus until I find the "ls" command?
     
    SbM, Sep 23, 2008
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  15. Grim Squeaker

    kevin

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    I don't think you're comparing like with like here. As I said in my previous post, rsync (for example) has hundreds of command-line options, but if you stuffed all that lot into a GUI it wouldn't be any easier to use. You'd still be hunting all over the place to find what you needed, and you'd still have to understand the concepts and terms it uses. Actually, there is a GUI interface to rsync, but it's impoverished compared to the command-line utility itself, for exactly this reason.

    So what you're really saying reduces to: it's easier to use menus and stuff for operations where menus and stuff are appropriate. Well, yeah, of course it is. But that doesn't really say very much, I think, becuase I use command line utilities for precisely those jobs where menus and stuff are inappropriate.

    And you still have to contend with the problem that must GUI operations are almost impossible to automate. That won't matter to everybody -- it depends to a large extent on how much you need to elicit maximum productivity from your computer.
     
    kevin, Sep 23, 2008
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  16. Grim Squeaker

    kevin

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    It's just a thing you have to know, or find out. If you don't know, you can ask somebody. When I first started using Windows, it wasn't remotely obvious to me that I could look for files by double-clicking something labelled `My Computer'. I had to find that out. It doesn't seem intuitive to me even now. Who else's computer would it be, anyway?

    To be fair, Unix/Linux commands are a bit of a hodge-podge. There are commands whose names make perfect sense: `reboot', `unzip', `find'. Then there are some which make sense when explained: `rm' (remove), `cp' (copy), `rsync' (remote synchronization). Then there are some whose names are incomprehensible, because they're acronyms or (good grief) somebody's initials (`awk'). There are historical reasons for this, and it always irritates the heck out of new Unix users.

    But, to be fair, none of this is as bizarre (or so it seems to me) as the fact that, in Windows XP, if I want to shut down my computer I have first to click something labelled `Start'.

    My point is that getting to grips with any new way of using a computer (or anything else) is always going to be a learning experience. I cling to the optimistic view that the more painful the learning experience, the better the long-term results are going to be. Of course, that isn't always true -- some things are just so illogical that they confound your expectations :)
     
    kevin, Sep 23, 2008
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  17. Grim Squeaker

    woofer00

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    If you're comfortable with a command line interface, there's nothing wrong with it. However, for most users the command line is typically only called up when there's something very wrong with the computer (on Windows, anyway). MacOSX has a terminal and command line interface, but the general Mac population wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.
    The best analogy I can think of for the general fear of the command line this: Generally people just want to use the computer for what's there. They don't want to go into the guts of the system for any reason whatsoever. If it works, that's all that really matters. The same could be said for car owners. Yes, any car owner who really wanted to could crack open the hood and fix just about anything that's wrong with it. However, few, if any, people choose to do so. Most people just want to drive their car until there's something wrong with it, at which point they will bring it to a mechanic (tech guy) who will fix it for them by going into the guts of the car (the command line).
    The vast majority of people who used to use Linux were typically mechanics - people who could both use and fix the computer and get it to do what they wanted. Although Linux is now getting more popular among non-geeks, I would have to attribute that popularity to the development of more sophisticated user interfaces like Gnome, KDE, XCFE, and others, and not because it works any better, though it may.

    I would also have to place a big emphasis on the ridiculous naming conventions of the command line interface. To take an example of a very simple and harmless line from the AspireOne Ubuntu Wiki:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    The normal, non-Linux acclimated response to that line is: "Wtf does sudo mean? What does it do? Why do I have to put in my password it make it work? What is apt-get? Why do I need to get an apt? What the heck IS an apt? Why does it need to be updated?" and so on.
    Note: I forgot that apt stood for advanced packaging tool until I just looked it up.

    You can't just throw an instruction at people and expect them to follow it blindly, and the amount of knowledge required to understand what you're doing it mind-boggling: most people didn't have that level of knowledge for Windows, and they sure as hell won't learn it to change to an OS that may or may not work well for them.
    Sure they can google any command to learn more, but who the hell would google every single piece of a command and all the flags?
    You might point to the man, help, or info pages, but when was the last time you read a man page that was remotely user-friendly?
     
    woofer00, Sep 23, 2008
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  18. Grim Squeaker

    SbM

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    Windows' graphical interface is probably the most counter-intuitive one I've ever seen.
     
    SbM, Sep 23, 2008
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  19. Grim Squeaker

    Phil_Urich

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    It means when you press tab, it completes things :) The above poster who mentioned google also has a good point. Honestly, I think this kind of thing only scares away people who have convinced themselves already that there's something to be scared off by . . . one of my friends recently got an ASUS eeePC 901, and he's never even touched Linux before (plus he's young enough to have never gone through the DOS days) and he's loving that the tweaks and things are commandline bits. He marvels at the fact that things which would take complicated explanations and perhaps pictures ("navigate to the update site, scroll down to the botton and select 'games'" or whateverthehell) can be given over as simple lines of text for one to type in.

    Honestly, when I'm dealing with non-tech-savvy people, it's so much easier to tell them "type in 'sudo apt-get upgrade'" instead of "okay, now go to the package manager...no, it's under System in the menu, okay, now hit 'upgrade' and click apply'" and that's a simple operation . . . something more complex and the GUI way gets exponentially complex, while one could still even copy-paste the commandline way :)
     
    Phil_Urich, Sep 23, 2008
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  20. Grim Squeaker

    flamingswrd

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    People that like to hate Linux, in all forms, don't really want to try and learn something. They fail to realize that the "free" price tag comes with a small learning curve. Considering the value of money these days, I'll take some time to learn and forget paying for software.

    Besides, Linux has a few interfaces that I find much simpler to navigate and get things done faster than Windows. The command line is there when I need it, there is no crap-ware, and it lets me know I *could* be doing something harmful when it asks for my password. Besides that, the forums provide more help than a "help line" ever has for me.
     
    flamingswrd, Sep 24, 2008
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